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Stop Sprawl
Fall 2000 Sprawl Report

States at a Glance: Mississippi

Tradition Community Development Corp.
(Harrison County)
A New Model for Coastal Development
Destination Broadwater
(Biloxi)
Sprawl in the Mississippi


Tradition Community Development Corp.
(Harrison County)
A New Model for Coastal Development

Growth in the Gulf Coast states is predicted to continue at a breakneck pace. In Harrison County alone, the population increased almost 30 percent in the last decade. But Tradition Community Development Corporation is proposing a smart-growth alternative to sprawling development in this coastal region.

The project, a $1.7 billion planned community, is to be located 12 miles north of the shoreline. While the development will bring more population growth to the coast, it is a vastly preferred alternative to the sprawling, poorly planned development that currently dominates the area.

In fact, if Harrison County provides for additional population growth in the traditional way -- with one-acre lots -- it would take 25,000 acres (and thousands of septic tanks) instead of the 4,600 acres and centralized sewage treatment and stormwater management envisioned at Tradition.

The 15-year plan for the project calls for a series of developments that will offer a range of housing choices. A variety of architectural styles are planned, and badly needed affordable housing will be included. In addition to housing, the development will eventually host a town center with up to 5,000 new job opportunities, as well as churches and schools. No longer captive to the car, residents will be able to walk or bike to work, to the store or to church.

The developers also plan to preserve up to 25 percent of the site as lakes, parks and nature trails. One sticking point that needs to be resolved is a concern about the gopher frog, a rare amphibian that may live in a pond next to Tradition property.


Destination Broadwater
(Biloxi)
Sprawl in the Mississippi

Biloxi should learn from cities in the South about the problems caused by poorly planned development. One needs to look no further than Atlanta or Tampa for examples of suburban sprawl at its worst. Unfortunately, the proposed Destination Broadwater development demonstrates that Biloxi has yet to learn from these mistakes.

At the center of the project is a proposal to fill 65 acres of the Mississippi Sound and almost four acres of wetlands for the construction of six floating casinos, eight hotels, parking garages and other resort amenities. Where fish, crabs and other marine creatures now live, sand mined from the bottom of the Sound will destroy existing habitat. The proposed fill is so damaging that it would violate the Essential Fish Habitat provisions of the Magnuson Fisheries Act in an area where natural fish habitat is already being destroyed at an alarming rate.

There may also be devastating long-term environmental impacts: An estimated 7,436 new septic tanks will be needed to accommodate new residents and hotels. This influx of sewage will cause severe storm-water pollution, especially in light of the inability of most coastal soil to properly filter the waste. In addition, air pollution could become a serious concern, as the project will doubtlessly increase car traffic along the project's access roads.

It's hard to imagine any place where such a huge development would make sense. But in a fragile area that has experienced rapid declines in water quality and wetlands habitat, this project is especially inappropriate.

States at a Glance | Introduction | Resources | Acknowledgments


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